Ladies of a certain age will appreciate my dilemma here. The bloody hot flushes always come at inconvenient moments but I sure could’ve done with some as we set off at 5am last Friday morning. Our goal in leaving that early was to beat the Florida heat, but the temperature went all crazy on us and it was only 41F when we left.
Unfortunately, it just kept getting colder as we rode throughout the day. By the time we reached Gainesville we were two frozen icemen and needed a Starbucks stop to try and defrost a bit.
The purpose of this mini-trip to NC was to be a practice to finalize our packing list for our Europe trip. It’s only a week now until the bike and our baggage gets shipped off, so we wanted to be sure that we have everything together.
The main (& by far the most important) thing we discovered was that layering doesn’t work if you don’t have the right layers 🙁
We had been deliberating for a while on which of our Klim bike jackets to take. The heavier ones (Badlands, his & Altitude, mine) or the lighter (Induction & Avalon) ones. Iain was all for the heavier ones but I argued that only the first 3 weeks riding would be in the colder climates when we’d be in and around the Alps. However, after that we’d be heading more south and into Italy, Corsica, Sardinia and Southern France. By this time it’d be June/early July and we would be sweating our butts off in the heavy jackets! He agreed and we decided that using the lighter jackets and layering clothes would be sufficient to see us through the chillier Alps days.
Our first day dawned dull, drizzly and, yep, you guessed it…COLD!
Even though it was damn cold (did I mention that already?) we ended up having a great days ride. We experienced thrilling new roads, an awesome waterfall, ate some good food and met fun people 🙂
As you near the end of the Skyway, a left turn takes you out towards a really cool waterfall, Bald River Falls, that is right at the side of the road. No hiking needed thankfully as I was way too cold for that lark!
The wonderful little café/bakery that we stopped in, Tellico Grains, was jam packed with bikers and as soon as we stepped in we could tell why! The cakes on display were just scrumptious. Yep, the whole Keto Diet thing went out the window right then and there!
After hanging out with the bikers a while and enjoying the coffee, we headed on back to Murphy along some more great twisty roads. Iain was in his element! So much so, we did it all again in reverse the next day!
Iain did a great job of riding given that we only had every day road tires on the bike. Thereby solidifying another Europe trip decision that had to be made…he has now had some dual sport Heidenau tires fitted. The good folks at Euro Cycles of Tampa Bay managed to squeeze in the job quickly as we were running down on time by the time we got back home. At least now we know that, whatever terrain we come across, we are going to be on some good tread!
Arriving back in Tellico, we were disappointed to find that the the café was closed. However, that meant we found another great place to get fueled up! The Cotton Pickin Inn served a marvelous breakfast that set us up well for the mornings riding.
Back ‘home’ in Murphy we made the most of that fabulous shower to thaw and regain the feeling in our fingers and toes before stepping out for dinner. Murphy is a great little place to stay. For a small town it has some really good choices in the way of bars and restaurants. We were not disappointed in any of the places we tried and the people were super friendly, ready to chat and didn’t seem put out by having strangers in the midst as some small towners can be!
Our last day found us heading back to Highlands! Of course, how could we ever be so close and not take that fabulous ride along the Hwy 64 route with its twists, turns and spectacular views! I even managed to discover a new waterfall that we hadn’t stopped at before. Silver Run Falls is just south of Cashiers and it was only a ¼ mile walk from the trail head, for real this time!
Follow our posts as we prepare for our 13 week tour of Europe that starts in May 2018!